A recently widowed man and his two teenage daughters travel to a game reserve in South Africa. However, their journey of healing soon turns into a fight for survival when a bloodthirsty lion starts to stalk them.
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There are a few scenes in this that are vaguely menacing, but for the most part it is really, really poor! Idris Elba ("Nate") arrives with his daughters "Mer" (Iyana Halley) and "Norah" (Leah Jeffries) at at remote African game reserve run by his friend "Martin" (Sharlto Copley). Pretty soon we realise that the luggage they brought on the plane is but the tip of the iceberg of baggage that actually accompanied this family and we are quickly immersed in a rather unattractive melodrama surrounding his late wife who tragically passed away (hopefully before seeing this film). Anyway, they are out on a guided tour when they discover that all is not well - an huge rogue lion is out to avenge himself on humanity after a group of poachers annihilated his pride. Snacking with impunity, this lion is soon determined to make a meal of these travellers - but can they stay alive long enough for help to arrive? Elba struggles to deliver consistency with his rather un-necessary American accent, the two girls are frankly just annoying and from very early on, I was wholeheartedly on the side of the lion. Curiously (or fortunately for the narrative), this great beast has virtually no sense of smell so "Nate" and his offspring seem to manage to dice with death on an implausibly regular basis. Taking shelter in an old school - leaving all the doors open for added protection; getting in and out of their land cruiser with scant regard for their safety and armed with little more than a pen-knife. The dialogue is OK - that's because it says it over and over again... "Are you OK?" "Are You OK"? The last few scenes are just plain silly - indeed, they reminded me of my schoolboy enjoyment of "Daktari" (1966) with the friendly "Clarence the cross-eyed lion" married together with one of the those semi-educational Disney films with actuality interspersed into the fiction. It does have the benefit of being short - just the ninety minutes, but what action there is is all too often drowned out in the banal family drama that is just dull. Nobody's finest work, sorry...
MORE SPOILER-FREE REVIEWS @ https://www.msbreviews.com/ "Beast is one of the most gorgeous, satisfying films of the year. The camera moves cut-free during the vast majority of scenes, depicting all the splendor of the African safari, as well as helping viewers to become invested in the character interactions in a much more captivating manner. The immersive atmosphere carries immense suspense and tension - the lion sequences are quite brutal - where Idris Elba delivers one of the most emotional performances of his career. It follows the usual formula when it comes to survival movies, and it does require some suspension of disbelief. Final remark for the convincing visual effects. Audiences won't be disappointed." Rating: B
**Poor effects and mediocre writing obscure Beast’s shining moments.** Beast is a decent creature movie entry with some good actors and immersive camerawork. Unfortunately, the digital effects on the lion are distracting and prevent the tension from fully building. The film was at its best when characters were frantically trying to spot the lion before it attacked, but the attacks themselves were easily survivable, making the result disappointing. The pointless family drama, weak dialogue, and far-fetched man versus lion battles prevented Beast from being as enjoyable as movies like Crawl or Deep Blue Sea.
I think the key to figuring out this movie is an early scene in which one of the characters is wearing a Jurassic Park shirt. This must be the filmmakers winking their eye at the audience, letting us know that what we’re about to see is all in jest. How else to explain a film where the protagonists arrive in South Africa and immediately start bitching about the heat, but they’re all wearing jackets, and sweaters, and hoodies? More importantly, how are we to interpret a movie that introduces the issues of poaching (people who kill lions) and anti-poaching (people who kill people who kill lions, or at least that’s what Beast thinks it is), only to have the antagonist be a maneater (a lion that kills people regardless of their stance on poaching). This only perpetuates the myth that lions have never met a human they didn’t want to maul (while contributing nothing to the poaching debate). I’m not saying lions follow an animal version of the First Law of Robotics, but they do get a bad rap in the movies, as do sharks — and in that sense, Beast is closer to Jaws: The Revenge than Jaws. Actually, Beast is even worse than Jaws: The Revenge because the latter at least used a mechanical shark, as opposed to the former’s pitiful CGI lion. All things considered, this is a film that makes you yearn for the simplicity of The Ghost and the Darkness, which made no pretense of being anything other than a Hemingway-lite story about male bonding over hunting big game (and which, though taking many liberties with the source material, had the decency to feature real lions). Here, however, the hero tricks two other lions into killing the 'evil' lion, not only a gambit that could easily backfire, but also not very nature-friendly. Although coming to think about it, maybe these lions do comply with the second part of the First Law ("A robot [or in this case, lion] may not ... through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm").
**o.m.g - one of the worst movies I've ever seen. Please don't pay to see this film!** Idris Elba is generally mediocre anyway, but he can put on an acceptable performance with a decent script and concept. Sadly, neither was available to him in this bumbling, tragic, and failed effort to create dramatic cinema. I'm amazed that anyone could create a movie based on such a predictable and often used concept and do it so badly. One poorly contrived scene after another, belief is not just suspended, but abandoned entirely to piece together a cartoonish presentation of sappy ideas and bad cgi. The script is equally dreary, simplistic, and filled with mostly predictable chatter, until it suddenly leaps off the cliff of reality and into the void of astoundingly stupid. Sadly, that happens far too often. Don't bother going to the cinema to see this. Wait a few weeks for it to get relegated to Pluto TV, Amazon Prime Video, or Freevee. Honestly, it won't take long.
_Beast_ had its moments where I was left gripping the arms of my chair at the edge of my seat, but the majority of film had me verbally laughing at the poor character writing. This movie does a lot right, don't get me wrong. The buildup to the encounter was done really well. You get a great introduction to all the characters and the individual struggles they go through due to the loss of Dr. Nate Daniels wife; it gives a baseline for the viewer to be able to relate and sympathize with the character. The action is pretty decent, and I was really impressed with the CGI work done on the lion. But, once the climax ensues the writing goes downhill, mainly in terms of character decision making. I found that the writers did not really know how to create unique situations to put the characters in with the lion, resulting in baffling decision to prolong the duration of the film. At every turn, a solution is so easily in view, but they do something that is such a right turn that it is unbelievable. The performance of Idris Alba really pulls the score up though. He does a fantastic job and portrays the loving and protecting nature of a father so well. I enjoyed his cool calm collected nature during high pressure scenes, it gave a sense of reality to him being a doctor. Overall, this film is not great, but it was entertaining, and I had a good time. **Score:** _65%_ | **Verdict:** _Decent_